Johnny Lattner

John Joseph Lattner (October 24, 1932 – February 12, 2016) was an American football player. While playing college football for the University of Notre Dame, he won the Heisman Trophy in 1953. He also won the Maxwell Award twice, in 1952 and 1953. Lattner played professionally for one season in the National Football League (NFL), with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1954.

Johnny Lattner
refer to caption
Lattner in Oak Park, Illinois 2004
No. 41
Personal information
Born:October 24, 1932
Chicago, Illinois
Died:February 12, 2016 (aged 83)
Melrose Park, Illinois
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school:Oak Park (IL) Fenwick
College:Notre Dame
NFL Draft:1954 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Football career

Lattner starred in both football and basketball at Fenwick High School where he graduated in 1950.[1] Fenwick, along with other Chicago-area Catholic schools, was a training ground for Notre Dame and Big Ten football programs, and Lattner held offers from top college football programs across the country. He initially considered the University of Michigan because head coach Bennie Oosterbaan ran the single wing offense, a scheme that fit Lattner well at Fenwick. Lattner eventually chose Notre Dame, which offered a Catholic education and the highest level of competition.[2]

Lattner played halfback for the University of Notre Dame under head coach Frank Leahy from 1950 to 1953. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1953, and won the Maxwell Award twice, in 1952 and 1953. In 1953, the Irish went 9–0–1, finishing second to Maryland in the final Associated Press poll. Lattner rushed for 651 yards (averaging 4.9 yards per carry) and scored nine touchdowns, caught 14 passes for 204 yards, had four interceptions and tallied two touchdowns on only 10 kickoff returns.[3]

Lattner appeared on the cover of Time Magazine on November 9, 1953 with the caption "a bread and butter ball carrier", a phrase bestowed upon Lattner by Leahy.[4]

In 1954, Lattner was drafted in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but played with them for only one season before entering the United States Air Force for two years. There, during a football game, he suffered a severe knee injury that prevented him from ever playing professional football again. Lattner's single season in Pittsburgh was a success, as he totaled over 1,000 all purpose yards on offense and special teams. As a result, he was named to the NFL 1954 Pro Bowl as a kick and punt returner.[5]

Lattner coached for a period in the late 1950s, at St. Joseph's High School in Kenosha, Wisconsin and the University of Denver.[6][7] His coaching career ended in 1961 when Denver cut its football program.[2]

Lattner was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979.[3]


An Oak Park resident for most of his life, Lattner later lived in Melrose Park, Illinois and resided in Anna Maria Island, Florida during the winter months. He served as vice president of sales at PAL Graphics Inc. in Broadview, Illinois.[2]

Of Irish Catholic descent,[2] Lattner was a longtime participant in the Chicago Saint Patrick's Day Parade, often carrying the banner of Saint Patrick.[8] The Chicago Tribune noted that nobody "out-Irished" Lattner, who also sports a kilt and green stockings for the festivities.[9]

In 1962, Lattner opened Johnny Lattner's Steakhouse on Madison Street in Chicago. An electrical fire in 1968 severely damaged the restaurant and claimed three lives. Lattner's Heisman Trophy was on display in the restaurant and was destroyed in the fire. Lattner sent the Downtown Athletic Club a check for $300 along with newspaper coverage of the fire and received a replacement.[10]

A fire four years earlier had ended better for Lattner. While driving home from work in the early morning of November 17, 1963, he spotted a fire in an apartment building on the West Side of Chicago. He called the fire department, then roused 25 residents from one of the buildings and carried a five-year-old girl to safety. He was credited with helping 40 people escape injury.[10] He operated a second restaurant at Marina City from 1968 to 1972.[2]

Lattner routinely rented out his Heisman Trophy to tailgates and other events with the proceeds donated to charity.[2][10] At halftime during Fenwick's 2007 game versus Hubbard at Soldier Field, Lattner's #34 jersey was retired.[11]

Lattner had 25 grandchildren, several of whom have also played football for Fenwick High School.[12] Robert Spillane, a class of 2014 graduate, plays football at Western Michigan University. Another grandson, Ryan Smith, also graduated from Fenwick in 2014 and plays football for Miami University.[13]

Lattner was 83 when he died from mesothelioma in his Melrose Park, Illinois home on February 12, 2016.[14]


  1. ^ John J. Lattner '50 (biography) – Fenwick High School Online Community.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "John Lattner". October 28, 2011. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Johnny Lattner Bio :: Notre Dame Football :: UND.COM :: The Official Site of Notre Dame Athletics". April 30, 2015. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  4. ^ "TIME Magazine Cover: John Lattner - Nov. 9, 1953". Time.
  5. ^ "1954 NFL Pro Bowlers". Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  6. ^ "Lattner Appointed Assistant Coach". The Gettysburg Times. July 16, 1959. p. 4. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
  7. ^ "Lattner wins Heisman". Today in ND History. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  8. ^ "It's Sure To Be A Fine Parade On St. Pat's Day, Begorra". Chicago Tribune. March 17, 1989.
  9. ^ Dold, R Bruce (March 18, 1986). "St. Pat's Day Afloat In Politics". Chicago Tribune.
  10. ^ a b c "Johnny Lattner: Still fourth and goal - Loop North News". Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  11. ^ Lattner's jersey retired,, August 24, 2007.
  12. ^ "Spillane carries Lattner tradition at Fenwick". CSN Chicago. October 30, 2012. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  13. ^ Helfgot, Mike (September 14, 2013). "Sunday special". Chicago Tribune.
  14. ^ Farmer, Marty. "Fenwick legend Johnny Lattner dies at 83," Wednesday Journal (Oak Park, IL), February 17, 2016.

External links

1952 College Football All-America Team

The 1952 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and writers that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1952. The eight selectors recognized by the NCAA as "official" for the 1952 season are (1) the Associated Press, (2) the United Press, (3) the All-America Board, (4) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), (5) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), (6) the International News Service (INS), (7) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), and (8) the Sporting News.

Maryland quarterback Jack Scarbath and Notre Dame halfback Johnny Lattner were the only two players to be unanimously named first-team All-Americans by all eight official selectors. Lattner was awarded the 1952 Heisman Trophy.

1953 College Football All-America Team

The 1953 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and writers that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1953. The eight selectors recognized by the NCAA as "official" for the 1953 season are (1) the Associated Press, (2) the United Press, (3) the All-America Board, (4) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), (5) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), (6) the International News Service (INS), (7) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), and (8) the Sporting News.

1953 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1953 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1953 college football season. John Lattner won the Heisman Trophy although he did not even lead the Irish in passing, rushing, receiving or scoring. Lattner held the Notre Dame record for all-purpose yards until Vagas Ferguson broke it in 1979.

Art Hunter

Arthur Hunter (April 24, 1933 – December 25, 2009) was an American football tackle who played twelve seasons in the National Football League (NFL), mainly for the Los Angeles Rams.

Chicago Catholic League

The Chicago Catholic League (CCL) is a high school athletic conference based in Chicago, Illinois, United States. All of the schools are part of the Illinois High School Association, the governing body for Illinois scholastic sports. While some of the schools are coeducational institutions, the conference only supports athletics for male teams (the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference serves as its female counterpart).

The CCL is perhaps best known for its success in football, water polo, wrestling, and baseball. Since the IHSA began a state football tournament in 1974, the CCL has placed first or second more than any conference or league in the state. Since 2002 when the IHSA first sponsored a state tournament in water polo, the CCL has not failed to win the state title for boys. Since 1984, when the IHSA moved to a dual-team state series in wrestling (previously, the team champion was based on the advancement of individuals in the individual state tournament), the CCL has also finished first or second more than any conference or league.

The conference's alumni include stars of the past like Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Lattner, Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Denny McLain and Basketball Hall of Fame member Moose Krause and more contemporary athletes such as former NBA player Corey Maggette and All-Pro quarterback Donovan McNabb, Antoine Walker. Perhaps the conference's most accomplished alumnus is Duke University men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Frank Leahy

Francis William Leahy (August 27, 1908 – June 21, 1973) was an American football player, coach, college athletics administrator, and professional sports executive. He served as the head football coach at Boston College from 1939 to 1940 and at the University of Notre Dame from 1941 to 1943 and again from 1946 to 1953, compiling a career college football record of 107–13–9. His winning percentage of .864 is the second best in NCAA Division I football history, trailing only that of fellow Notre Dame Fighting Irish coach, Knute Rockne, for whom Leahy played from 1928 to 1930. Leahy played on two Notre Dame teams that won national championships, in 1929 and 1930, and coached four more, in 1943, 1946, 1947, and 1949. Leahy was also the athletic director at Notre Dame from 1947 until 1949 when he passed the role to the Fighting Irish basketball coach, Moose Krause, so that he could focus on football coaching. Leahy served as the general manager for the Los Angeles Chargers of the American Football League (AFL) during their inaugural season in 1960. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1970.

Fred Baer

Frederick N. Baer (July 2, 1932 – March 21, 2007) was an American football player. He played at the fullback position for the University of Michigan from 1952 to 1954. He was chosen as the Most Valuable Player on the 1954 Michigan Wolverines football team.

Gus Cifelli

August Blase "Gus" Cifelli (February 3, 1926 – March 26, 2009) was an American football offensive tackle who played for three College Football National Championship teams with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team and won the 1952 NFL championship with the Detroit Lions. After retiring from football, he went to law school and was elected as a Michigan district court judge, where he served for more than two decades.

Jim Schrader

James Lee Schrader (June 8, 1932 – January 1972) was an American football center and tackle in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles from 1954 to 1964.

Schrader attended and played college football at the University of Notre Dame and was then drafted by the Redskins in the second round of the 1954 NFL Draft.

With the nickname "Big Jim" and listed at 6'-2" and 244 lbs, Schrader played in 116 NFL games, starting 48 of them.Even though, in his 10-year career, Jim never played for a team that finished with a winning record. he was a Pro Bowl selection in 1958, 1959 and 1961.


Lattner is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Chris Lattner (born 1978), American software developer

Johnny Lattner (1932–2016), American football player

List of Heisman Trophy winners

The Heisman Trophy, one of the highest individual awards in American college football, has been awarded 81 times since its creation in 1935, including 79 unique winners and one two-time winner. The trophy is given annually to the most outstanding college football player in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), and is awarded by the Heisman Trust, successors of the awards from the Downtown Athletic Club at an annual ceremony at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square, Manhattan.

In 1935, the award, then known as the DAC Trophy, was created by New York City's Downtown Athletic Club to recognize the best college football player "east of the Mississippi River". In that inaugural year, the award went to Jay Berwanger from the University of Chicago. Berwanger was later drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League but declined to sign for them. He never played professional football for any team, instead choosing to pursue a career in business. In 1936, the club's athletic director, football pioneer John Heisman, died and the trophy was renamed in his honor. Larry Kelley, the second winner of the award, was the first to win it as the "Heisman Trophy". In addition to the name change, the award also became a nationwide achievement. With the new name, players west of the Mississippi became eligible; the first player from the western United States was selected in 1938. Only one player, Ohio State's Archie Griffin, has won the award twice.On June 10, 2010, following several years of investigation, the NCAA announced that USC running back Reggie Bush, the 2005 Heisman trophy winner, received gifts from agents while still in college. The university received major sanctions, and there were reports that the Heisman Trophy Trust would strip his award. In September of that year, Bush voluntarily forfeited his title as the 2005 winner. The Heisman Trust decided to leave the award vacated with no new winner to be announced.Between 1936 and 2001, the award was given at an annual gala ceremony at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City. The Downtown Athletic Club's facilities were damaged during the September 11, 2001 attacks. Due to financial difficulties stemming from the damage, the DAC declared bankruptcy in 2002, turning over its building to creditors. Following the club's bankruptcy and the loss of the original Downtown Athletic Club building, the Yale Club of New York City assumed presenting honors in 2002 and 2003. The ceremony was moved to the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square for the 2002, 2003, and 2004 presentations, but since 2005, the event has been held at the venue now known as PlayStation Theater, also in Times Square. The move to the PlayStation Theater allowed the Downtown Athletic Club (and ultimately, the award's successor, The Heisman Trust) to resume full control of the event—the most prominent example of which was the return of the official portraits of past winners—despite the loss of the original presentation hall.In terms of balloting, the fifty states of the U.S. are split into six regions (Far West, Mid Atlantic, Mid West, North East, South, South West), and six regional representatives are selected to appoint voters in their states. Each region has 145 media votes, for a total of 870 votes. In addition, all previous Heisman winners may vote, and one final vote is counted through public balloting. The Heisman ballots contain a 3-2-1 point system, in which each ballot ranks the voter's top three players and awards them three points for a first-place daddy vote, two points for a second-place vote, and one point for a third-place vote. The points are tabulated, and the player with the highest total of points across all ballots wins the Heisman Trophy.

List of Pittsburgh Steelers first-round draft picks

The Pittsburgh Steelers, a professional American football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, participated in the first NFL Draft prior to the 1936 season. The franchise changed its name to the Steelers prior to the 1940 season, to represent the city's heritage of producing steel.The event, which is officially known as the "Player Selection Meeting", is held each April. The draft is used as the primary means to distribute newly available talent (primarily from college football) equitably amongst the teams. Selections are made in reverse order based on the previous season's record, i.e. the club with the worst record from the previous season selects first. Through 2009, only two exceptions were made to this order: the Super Bowl champion always selects last (32nd), and the Super Bowl loser is awarded the penultimate (31st) pick. Beginning in 2010, teams making the playoffs will be seeded in reverse order depending upon how far they advance. The draft consists of seven rounds. Teams have the option of trading selections for players, cash and/or other selections (including future year selections). Thus, it is not uncommon for a team's actual draft pick to differ from their assigned draft pick, or for a team to have extra or no draft picks in any round due to these trades. The Steelers have traded away their first-round pick eight times; they have had two first-round selections in two drafts.

The Steelers' first selection in the inaugural NFL draft was William Shakespeare, a halfback from Notre Dame. The Steelers have selected first overall three times, drafting Bill Dudley in 1942, Gary Glick in 1956 and Terry Bradshaw in 1970. The team has selected second overall once, and third overall four times. Through 2009, seven Steeler first-round picks have gone on to have playing careers deemed worthy of enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Dudley, Len Dawson, Joe Greene, Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann and Rod Woodson. The team's most recent first-round selection was Terrell Edmunds, a safety from Virginia Tech.

List of people from Oak Park, Illinois

The following list includes notable people who were born or have lived in Oak Park, Illinois. For a similar list organized alphabetically by last name, see the category page People from Oak Park, Illinois.

List of unanimous All-Americans in college football

The College Football All-America Team is an honorific college football all-star team compiled after each NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) season to recognize that season's most outstanding performers at their respective positions. There are several organizations that select their own All-America teams. Since 1924, the NCAA has designated selectors whose teams are used to determine "consensus" and "unanimous" All-Americans. Any player who is named to the first team by at least half the official selectors for a given season is recognized as being a consensus All-American. A player on the first team of every official selector is recognized as being a unanimous All-American. Since 2002, the five selectors designated by the NCAA for this purpose are the Associated Press (AP), the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), Sporting News, and the Walter Camp Football Foundation (WCFF).Unanimous All-Americans are considered "elite, the cream of the crop from any particular season." Many are later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, and many also go on to have successful professional football careers. From 1924 to 2000, 364 players were unanimous selections at least once. Thus, only a handful of players—if any—each season receive the honor. The first player to do so was Red Grange, star halfback for the Illinois Fighting Illini, who received first-team honors from all six major selectors in 1924.As of the end of 2018 Division I FBS season, Oklahoma has had the most unanimous All-America selections of any school, with 35, followed by Alabama and Notre Dame with 34 each. Eighty-four schools have had at least one unanimous All-America selection. The most recent All-America team, the 2018 team, consisted of eight unanimous selections.

Maxwell Award

The Maxwell Award is presented annually to the college football player judged by a panel of sportscasters, sportswriters, and National Collegiate Athletic Association head coaches and the membership of the Maxwell Football Club to be the best all-around in the United States. The award is named after Robert "Tiny" Maxwell, a Swarthmore College football player, coach and sportswriter. Johnny Lattner (1952, 1953) and Tim Tebow (2007, 2008) are the only players to have won the award twice. It is the college equivalent of the Bert Bell Award of the National Football League, also given out by the Maxwell Club.

Menil Mavraides

Menil Mavraides (born 1931) is a former guard for the Philadelphia Eagles football team in 1954 and 1957. With the nickname "Minnie", he was listed at 6' 2" and 220 lbs.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish football

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team is the intercollegiate football team representing the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana. The team is currently coached by Brian Kelly and plays its home games at the campus's Notre Dame Stadium, which has a capacity of 77,622. Notre Dame is one of six schools that competes as an Independent at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Football Bowl Subdivision level; however, they play five games a year against opponents from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), which Notre Dame is a member of in all other sports except ice hockey.Notre Dame is one of the most iconic and successful programs in college football. The school claims 11 national championships, but the NCAA recognizes the school with 13.

Moreover, Notre Dame has 21 national championships recognized by all major selectors; this is tied with Alabama for the most in the FBS. Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Ohio State share the record of seven Heisman Trophy winners, but Notre Dame leads Ohio State by the number of individual winners. Notre Dame has produced 101 consensus All-Americans, 34 unanimous All-Americans, 52 members of the College Football Hall of Fame, and 13 members of the NFL Hall of Fame, all NCAA records. Notre Dame has had 495 players selected in the NFL Draft, second only to USC.All Notre Dame home games have been televised by NBC since 1991, and Notre Dame is the only school to have such a contract. It was the only independent program to be part of the Bowl Championship Series coalition and its guaranteed payout, and it has one of the largest, most widespread fan bases in college football. These factors help make Notre Dame one of the most financially valuable football programs in the country, which allows the school to remain an independent.

Paul Giel

Paul Robert Giel (September 29, 1932 – May 22, 2002) was an American football and baseball player from Winona, Minnesota.

Giel attended the University of Minnesota, where he was a star single wing tailback for the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team. During his career at Minnesota he rushed for 2,188 yards and had 1,922 yards passing. Giel received the Chicago Tribune Silver Football as the Big Ten's most valuable player twice, in 1952 and 1953, was named an All-American twice. Giel was the captain of the football team in 1953 that featured an upset of No. 5 Michigan for the Little Brown Jug. That year, he was the runner-up to Johnny Lattner of Notre Dame for the Heisman Trophy. His 1,794 votes received are the most by any player not to win the award. He was United Press International's college player of the year and the Associated Press back of the year.

Giel was a pitcher for the Minnesota Golden Gophers baseball team. He was selected to the 1953 College Baseball All-America Team by the American Baseball Coaches Association.Giel was especially known for his speed and rapid cutting to change direction on the football field. At 185 pounds he was not a power runner. In the final game of the 1953 football season, Giel was clipped (tackled from behind while near the ball-carrier) on a kick return. This illegal action by an opposing player led to a fifteen-yard penalty and a broken ankle that for many confirmed the belief that Giel was too slight to have a professional football career. Despite this, the Canadian Football League (CFL) offered him $75,000 over three years.Instead of professional football, after his collegiate days Giel pitched in the major leagues for the New York and San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins, and Kansas City Athletics. He signed with the Giants for a $60,000 bonus, which was their highest ever at the time. After his retirement from baseball, Giel was a color commentator on Minnesota Vikings radio broadcasts from 1962 to 1969, and served as the University of Minnesota's Director of Athletics from 1971 to 1989. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1975. Giel died following a heart attack on May 22, 2002.

Zahm Hall

Zahm Hall is one of the 30 residence halls on the campus of the University of Notre Dame and one of 16 male dorms. Zahm Hall was built in 1937 and is located directly east of St. Edward's Hall and is directly west of North Quad. Zahm Hall has 202 undergraduate students, its mascot is Ignats the moose, and its residents are called Zahmbies. The coat of arms is black and red, the colors of Zahm, and the interlaced pattern represents both the Z and the X, symbols of the hall, and the antlers of the moose, the mascot of the hall. The residents of Zahm refer to it as Zahm House.

Johnny Lattner—awards and honors

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